CHADRON – Dr. Nathaniel Gallegos, assistant professor and chair of the Business department, was presented the Chadron State College Teaching Excellence Award at the annual CSC Faculty and Staff Recognition Luncheon Thursday.
He brings a wealth of experience to CSC including work in government law offices in California and Ohio, work with private businesses, university research in New Mexico and two years as an active reservist with the U.S. Navy.
Gallegos, who began teaching at CSC in 2013, said he was humbled by the award.
“It's my honor to be embraced as an educator by my students. Education has been the biggest challenge of my life,” he said.
Authenticity, student engagement and fostering student inquiry are hallmarks of his teaching philosophy, Gallegos said.
"Technique is never a substitute for truth and passion,” he said, commenting on text from Parker Palmer’s “The Courage to Teach.”
Being a first generation college student, a Mexican-American, a veteran, and a student who completed remedial courses in community college, Gallegos feels he possesses a profound common path with many CSC students.
Gallegos acknowledged his CSC colleagues and mentors with contributing to his success at CSC.
“I owe all my gratitude to Dr. Mary Jo Carnot for all she invested in helping me develop my pedagogy and method. My extended gratitude to Dr. Timothy Anderson for modeling professionalism, to Dr. August Bruehlman for introducing me to continued strategic thought, Dr. Richard Koza for his mentorship and being my trusted friend right from the start and to Dr. Hyer for all his patience, guidance and support. God blesses me with work and I'm so blessed to have found Chadron State,” Gallegos said.
When he joined the CSC Business Academy faculty he was new to course design and pedagogical style. He credits the Quality Matters (QM) program with helping him successfully make the leap from his career as an attorney to the classroom.
He fully embraced the QM program, becoming a QM master peer reviewer and adopting QM principles with the certification of his MBA law course. He also published an article on ADA course compliance and presented it at the 2015 National QM Conference.
In 2014, he asked to teach Agricultural Policy (ECON 432) for the chance to develop smart consumers in a course related so closely to his graduate work and research in agricultural economics. Gallegos said he includes TED Talks, NPR podcasts and PBS documentaries in the course, in addition to other assignments such as detective work to analyze food labels.
In addition to receiving a $1,000 award from the Chadron State Foundation and plaque, Gallegos now becomes a finalist for the Nebraska State College System Teaching Excellence Award to be announced later this year. It is presented annually to one full-time faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching, service and leadership across the system, including Chadron, Peru and Wayne State Colleges.
The NSCS Board has awarded the NSCS Teaching Excellence Award since 1984.
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